SO MUCH TO DO

a list:

Dramaturgy
– research on commedia dell’arte, vaudeville, slapstick, original marriage of figaro, process of adaptation
– write something to put in a program?
– collect images to make a wall of or something?
– make mix cd of Ben Charest/ Tango Tosca Orchestra for Jac

Native American Literature
– research on Santee Sioux for class presentation (10/2)
– close reading on Dawes Act, Act to provide…, and Charles Eastman
– three reflections on storytelling project

Spanish Theater
– 4-5 pg paper on Don Alvaro o el fuerzo del sino (needless to say, in Spanish) (10/3)

Playwriting
– god knows. more research on Satie/Jeremiah/La Tours/Hamlet?
– maybe actually write something?
– find recording of danses gothiques which no library is willing to lend out, the bitches

Theater, Community, Collaboration
– god knows. watch the daily show/colbert report?

Random Crap
– study abroad questionaire so I can sign up for classes next semester (10/10)
– get kitty a scratching post
– buy herbs
– clean room
– get stitches removed next week?
– guitar?
– pierce something in honor of ataraxia being performed?
– sleep (but not too much)?

I’m only really signed up for 3 academic classes this semester but somehow I’m doing the work for 5. Whoops.

some thoughts on Satie

working on a play i guess that deals with art that has hit me in some way or another, and running into music is more or less inevitable, especially music that i can actually play/participate in.  i’ve always loved gymnopédie #1 and now i’m starting to love #3 too, and the more i learn about Satie, about his weird little life, the more i love them.  because in playing those songs, however poorly and humbly, i am still participating in the physical action that he created – playing those notes at those times.  and that brings a strange feeling of … intimacy, i guess.  of knowing a little bit about what it must have been like to be in his skin.  


so here are some quotes that i’ve found that resonated with me especially from Satie the Composer by Robert Orledge.

April 1924 [prefaced with ‘I am abandoning, just for today, my habitual irony’] “Music requires a great deal from those who wish to serve her.  A true musician must be subjugated to his Art;… he must put himself above human miseries;… he must draw his courage from within himself,… from within himself alone.”

23 August 1918 “I am suffering too much.  It seems to me that I am cursed.  I loathe this beggar’s life.  I am looking for and want to find a position, an employment, however menial.  I shit on Art: it has “cut me up” too often.  It’s a mug’s game – if I may say so… For the last month and a half I haven’t been able to write a note.”

‘So, to a large extent, composition must also have provided a means of escape for Satie; from everyday philistinism and all that he saw as being wrong in an immoral, materialistic society, as much as from his own highly-principled, but miserable hermeticism.  His ivory tower remained impregnable only at a terrible personal cost, and his exquisite calligraphy, his obsessional drawings and devising of compositional systems, must have arisen as much from a need to fill lonely hours as from a desire to create beauty among ugliness and squalor.’ (10)

walked around at night to compose – hampered by the effects of WWI on Paris
“Perhaps the most celebrated account of Satie’s nocturnal creation comes from the poet Blaise Cendrars, who found the composer recumbent at the foot of the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde during a night of heavy bombardment on 13 March 1918:
I stooped over him, thinking him dead.  ‘What are you doing there?’ I asked him.  He replied: ‘I know very well that it’s ridiculous and that I’m not in a shelter.  But what do you know, this thing shot up in the air and I had the sensation of being at the shelter.  Then I wrote some music for the Obelisk… It’s music for the lady Pharaoh who is buried below.  No-one ever thinks of her.  It took this ghastly bombardment to bring me here; for the first time.  Not a bad story, eh?’  And he sniggered, with his hand over his beard, as he often did, his wicked eyes examining the monument … ‘Do you know who is buried here?’ I asked Satie.  ‘It seems it’s the mummy of Cleopatra.  At least, that’s what I heard.’  ‘You don’t say so,’ Satie replied.  ‘In that case  I was right to write her a bit of music.’ ” (17)

John Cage on the effect of deliberate boredom as a source of walking everywhere – “These are all poets or musicians who composed while putting one foot in front of the other in a fairly boring, if you want, physical act, which nevertheless has its relationship to the heart-beat and the universe … I think that the source of Satie’s sense of musical beat – the possibility of variation with repetition, the effect of boredom on the organism – may be this endless walking back and forth across the same landscape day after day, and finally taking it all in, which is basically what Thoreau did: the total observation of a very limited and narrow environment.” (18)

ground zero

wow.

He cried. He cried and I watched and cried too.
And we flipped through this notebook, through the past two years or so with every little confession of mine laid out, opened neatly, exposed in a way that I had never been before.
His eyes were red and I saw them, the tears, running down his face. I held him in the dark as he sobbed and told me things about himself, about being trapped by two opposite undeniable choices, about believing in nothing and believing in everything.
There is so much more in him that needs to be told.
I want to help him. I want him to be happy, because as [important] as every tear that I had only imagined existed was, I never want him to feel that way again.
We are so young and so old.
I love him so much, and each of these little crises seems to make me love him even more.
Is he hurt now, in this moment?
(Please don’t let him ever feel lonely.)
I want him to be free, to be happy with loving me.
But I want him to be with me, too. So badly.
Can we work this out? Can we be happy together?
(Can we make this last?)
I haven’t spoken to you properly for a while.
But please.
Help us both through this.
I want to protect him so badly.
God.
I really don’t want to write this next part, because I love him too much, too fiercely, and I am dependent on him.
But.

Give your hearts unto the hands of Life…

Thy will be done.

(He cried.)

more detritus from before the end

Let tomorrow be good.

does he love me?
so many doubts. do I annoy him with my neediness, my uncertainty, my self-justification, my mood swings and constant need of affirmation?
in the end, the question may boil down to whether or not i am worth loving.
listening to the rain…
will he call? doubt it.
if he does, will he want to see me?
am i in good enough shape for that?
spilling open is a messy business.
but i’m a mess anyways.

i miss you, and i’m a loser without you.

break me apart, finger by finger, rib by rib.
(the origin of love)

undo me
(it’s so easy to do)

razor blades and tongues

waiting for rain and fog and cool air and tall trees and sublime nakedness.

what will happen if i get pregnant?

your future will not resemble what you are thinking of now.

that doesn’t mean it’ll be worse; it also doesn’t mean that you’ll be a writer and otherwise keep your self-respect.

the thing i fear most is wasting my life, living day to joyless day knowing that i’m just taking up oxygen.

i have to make my life have meaning no matter what happens.

please. help me be the hero of my own story.

god.

i hope i’m not pregnant.

i’m 18 years old.
i’m an adult now.
shit…

10 and the phone is quiet.

why does this always happen?
muse sleepover vs. him
goddamn

“motivated forgetting”

God’s joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into flowerbed.
As roses, up from the ground.
Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish,
now a cliff covered with vines,
now a horse being saddled.
It hides within these,
til one day it cracks open.
– Rumi

running low on steam

So I’ve been the dramaturg for “One Mad Day” for about two weeks now, and some of it is really cool, and some of it just leaves me wondering what the hell I’m actually doing here. I’ve been doing a lot of the physical warmups with the cast because they need an even number of bodies and I’m usually wearing sneakers, and some of that has been fun, but a lot of it has pretty much been reassuring me that acting is not really one of my talents, or at least not improvisational acting. Some of it I think I could do, but I need a character to become, a backstory, instead of just a situation and an adjective. Maybe with me it isn’t even acting. It’s just finding some part of myself that I don’t think about too often. In which case it’s not acting in the sense of pretending, it’s just… bringing other parts of myself to the surface. Which doesn’t really work for “grab the cookie” or anything like that.

We’ve started actually rehearsing somewhat, and then especially I don’t know what my role is exactly. To listen, I guess, and speak if I’m spoken to? I’m not used to having that passive of a role, and it’s been hard for me to learn to keep my mouth shut when I have ideas because ultimately that’s not what I’m there for. I don’t think. And then part of me just starts feeling tired and useless and empty by the time rehearsal is over and I go and collapse at home and try to figure out how to put myself together again.

Sometimes the idea of finally letting gravity take over is extremely tempting. There’s only so long you can stand upright without something holding you up. But those are dark thoughts for so early in the day.

"the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian," sherman alexie

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

When the holidays rolled around, we didn’t have any money for presents, so Dad did what he always does when we don’t have enough money.
He took what little money we did have and ran away to get drunk.
He left on Christmas Eve and came back on January 2.
With an epic hangover, he just lay on his bed for hours.
“Hey, Dad,” I said.
“Hey, kid,” he said.  “I’m sorry about Christmas.”
“It’s okay,” I said.
But it wasn’t okay.  It was about as far from okay as you can get.  If okay was the earth, then I was standing on Jupiter.  I don’t know why I said it was okay.  For some reason, I was protecting the feelings of the man who had broken my heart yet again.
Jeez, I’d just won the Silver Medal in the Children of Alcoholics Olympics.
“I got you something,” he said.
“What?”
“It’s in my boot.”
I picked up one of his cowboy boots.
“No, the other one,” he said.  “Inside, under that foot-pad thing.”
I picked up the other boot and dug inside.  Man, that thing smelled like booze and fear and failure.
I found a wrinkled and damp five dollar bill.
“Merry Christmas,” he said.
Wow.
Drunk for a week, my father must have really wanted to spend those last five dollars.  Shoot, you can buy a bottle of the worst whiskey for five dollars.  He could have spent that five bucks and stayed drunk for another day or two.  But he saved it for me.
It was a beautiful and ugly thing.
“Thanks, Dad,” I said.
He was asleep.
“Merry Christmas,” I said, and kissed him on the cheek.

"siddhartha," hermann hesse

[in reality, there are so many quotes in this book that has moved my life even though i haven’t read it in years, but the idea of this one keeps popping up.]

He looked around him as if seeing the world for the first time.  The world was beautiful, strange and mysterious.  Here was blue, here was yellow, here was green, sky and river, woods and mountains, all beautiful, all mysterious and enchanting, and in the midst of it, he, Siddhartha, the awakened one, on the way to himself.  All this, all this yellow and blue, river and wood, passed for the first time across Siddhartha’s eyes.  It was no longer the magic of Mara, it was no more the veil of Maya, it was no longer meaningless and the chance diversities of the appearances of the world, despised by deep-thinking Brahmins, who scorned diversity, who sought unity.  River was river, and if the One and Divine in Siddhartha secretly lived in blue and river, it was just the divine art and intention that there should be yellow and blue, there sky and wood – and here Siddhartha.  Meaning and reality were not hidden somewhere behind things, they were in them, in all of them.
How deaf and stupid I have been, he thought, walking on quickly.  When anyone reads anything which he wishes to study, he does not despise the letters and punctuation marks, and call them illusion, chance and worthless shells, but he reads them, he studies and loves them, letter by letter.  But I, who wished to read the book of the world and the book of my own nature, did presume to despise the letters and signs.  I called the world of appearances, illusion.  I called my eyes and tongue, chance.  Now it is over, I have awakened.  I have indeed awakened and have only been born today.

putting pieces together

Nature is a Haunted House – but Art –
a House that tries to be haunted.
— Emily Dickinson, Letter to T.W. Higginson, L459
yeah, like so much of Emily Dickinson, this phrase has become close to a cliché.  something to put on a poster to hang in a classroom.  but it’s been sticking with me.  I like the distinction it makes.  Nature is; Art tries.  I feel like so much of how I am is more defined that I am trying to be someone that is not necessarily who I am rather than what I actually am, whatever that is.  
art and artifice.  they come too close.
I’m working on… a project, I suppose.  current form it’s taking is a full-length play, if only to see if I can actually write one, and it’s about a lot of things, but very much about someone who is not dissimilar to me in how much art affects them.  so it’s about art, but not only art, because it’s about religion too, since in many ways they are the same thing – the same act of trying to be something more, which is in itself something more.  the crying for a vision.  and so there are works of art that are characters as are some of the artists.  there’s the prophet Jeremiah, who has always been one of my favorite prophets, if only because I think more than other prophets the gift of prophesy was a burden, but one that he could not give up.  inspiration, is that the word?  the bridge between art and God.  
inspiration is the spark that lights the fire, and you can have all the fuel in the world but still no light if you don’t have that spark.  but you still need the fuel.  there’s this one passage in “Siddhartha,” one of my favorite books which I have not read forever, in which Siddhartha realizes that he has been ignoring the world in his attempts to understand it, like despising the paper and words of a book even while he’s been trying to read it.  you still need the paper and the words; they still have intrinsic value in and of themselves, not just the value of whatever they signify.  i believe in the importance of the signifier, i think.  i have to.  because the signified, the spark, whatever metaphors that i could mix in… they are rare.  they are precious because they are rare.  but i don’t think that should mean that the signifiers should not be precious because they are not rare.
going in circles.  

intro to native american literature

started this class, one which i’m quite excited for. i had had an idea that the main focus of my advanced playwriting independent study would be interviewing local tribes to record their storytelling – not just the story but the oral tradition, the theatricality of, in real-time, relating a sequence of events to another person. i think what i like best about theater is its roots in storytelling tradition – not only straight out verbal narratives but the silent theater of dance and expression and gesture and timing that nevertheless creates a world. the oral tradition combines both linguistic mastery and this sense of dance – how the storyteller physically changes their expression, their posture, their vocal pitch, their breathing and their timing – so the story relates not only the information present in the meaning of words but all of the wordless context of the story, of the teller and whoever told it to them, of the audience. i tend toward monologues when i write plays. toward… people explaining themselves to someone else as honestly as possible. to me explaining myself to someone as honestly as possible.

because every explanation is an act of theater, of acting in fact, is it not? my professor condemns followers of “method acting,” saying that it isn’t really acting, saying that the idea “acting is believing” is entirely false, but i can’t agree with her. i think that people act whenever they know someone is watching. which isn’t the same as dishonesty by any means, although in some cases it may be, but the simple fact that people act differently when they are aware of being watched. and theater, all art really, is deliberately making oneself be watched (terribly passive construction, i know). which isn’t to belittle art into calling it a cry for attention by historonic individuals, because i do believe that it is more, that art can be transcendent even if its origins may have been a cry for attention, but a somewhat inevitable product of human consciousness.

i think that we forget that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge gave us not only the awareness of what was good and what was evil, but what was beautiful and what was not. somehow i can’t help but think that morality and aesthetics go hand in hand.

going on a tangent, this is more meant as a place to put down quotes.

“The Indians are a looking-glass into the souls of North Americans. If we want to dissect the Anglo and analyze his character we must find out what he does when no one else cares, when no one is in a position to thwart his will – when he can do as he pleases. And with the Indian the Anglo has done what he pleased, with no one to care, and with the Indian ultimately too weak to resist, except passively.” – Prof. Jack D. Forbes

“Writing for me is the ultilization of language, and “the utilization of language” means referring to the oral tradition. So that the oral tradition is fundamental to how the language you learn and develop in writing then expresses itself in the contemporary period, in writing. It’s not a step removed or even a bridge crossed, but actually part of that path or road or journey that you are walking. … You recognize your birth as coming from a specific place, but that place is more than just a physical or geological place, but obviously a spiritual place, a place with the whole scheme of life, the universe, the whole scheme and power of creation. Place is the source of who you are in terms of your identity, the language that you are born into and that you come to use.” – Simon Ortiz

i wish that i had roots. but i’m hardly the only one without them. i think that the ambiguous concept of “america” is ultimately rootless, created by increasingly rootless people who are instead just scraping the surface but gaining no traction or drifting altogether.

i could go on and on about how much this subject matters to me, but it’s time to sleep.